In the last few days, there has been a bit of an uptick in discussion regarding John Dehlin. A number of minor (and arguably a few major) revelations have come out of it, but in thinking about the overall impression that I’ve gotten from observing discussions in widely disparate corners of the internet, I think the takeaway is that John Dehlin has a women problem. Now if John were here I am sure that he would remind us that no one respects women more than John Dehlin and proceed to tell us how much he has done for them. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. How did this whole thing start?
Note: In this post I will attempt to (in keeping with the emerging consensus on sound historical writing practices in women’s history) privilege women’s voices and perspectives where possible.
Now, for context, it looks like this current episode actually has its origin in an earlier public dispute between John Dehlin and Kate Kelly. Apparently, Kristy Money told Kelly that she was not being compensated for the work she did as an Open Stories Foundation (OSF) podcaster and Kelly had the following to say about it. Here is the text of Kelly’s original post (transcription mine from a photo) (hereafter [KK1]):
I AM SICK & TIRED OF WOMEN DOING WORK FOR FREE. Especially Mormon women. We are expected to do everything for the “good of the cause” and to expect no compensation for our time and talent. I just talked to Kristy Money who does an amazing podcast called Mormon Transitions as part of Mormon Stories AND SHE DOESN’T MAKE A SINGLE CENT.
This is unacceptable. John Parkinson Dehlin if I want to specifically donate to Kristy Money or Gina Colvin’s podcasts & not to Mormon Stories generally, how do I do that? If there isn’t a way, there needs to be a way. Yesterday.
Lindsay Hansen Park and so many others do podcasts & work that cost so much time & they make pennies on the dollar to men.
And, no one better argue that they are less talented or get less downloads or I am SERIOUSLY GOING TO LOST IT.
This apparently precipitated a dispute between Dehlin and Money. Presumably, Dehlin was angry with Money disclosing that fact that he wasn’t giving her any… …money for her podcasting labors in behalf of the organization. Kelly described the results of her posting Money’s not being paid for her services, “She supported me posting it, but didn’t speak out directly herself because she feared severe retribution… which, sadly, happened anyway. As a result of talking about her compensation to others (even privately), Kristy’s relationship as a podcaster with Mormon Stories ended. Her podcast Mormon Transitions (that shwas the initial podcaster of & worked for months to build) was taken over by John Dehlin’s wife.” It does seem ironic that, in an organization that touts transparency as a concept, Money’s disclosing her non-salary would constitute grounds for retribution, as Kelly suggests. The takeover of the podcast by Dehlin’s wife around this time certainly seems to circumstantially support this reading of events. It might stand to reason that if the salary’s becoming public knowledge wasn’t acceptable then it is probably the case that on some level Dehlin understood that the non-salary itself wasn’t really acceptable. This does seem to support Kelly’s subsequent assertion that, “I know that institutions never change unless there are real consequences [KK2].” In any event, Kristy Money, “left the Open Stories Foundation in late 2016” [M1] as, apparently, a direct consequence of the retaliatory fallout of the confrontation between Kelly and Dehlin.
On May 20th Kristy Money published an open letter on her Facebook. This letter is copied here in full with no editing beyond possible losses of formatting during copying (this source is subsequently referred to as [M1]):
————————————-Money Quote [M1]——————————-
Since I left the Open Stories Foundation in late 2016, a lot of people have asked me what happened. I have deliberated for months on what to say and how to say it—I have tried repeatedly to express my concerns privately to both John Dehlin and OSF to no avail. So even in the midst of painful morning sickness with baby #5 and cross-country family move fog, I feel it’s time to publicly call on Dr. Dehlin to release detailed OSF financials for 2016 and annually in perpetuity. Especially if he is going to continue to assert that OSF is on a shoestring budget and he is not unduly profiting from it financially (i.e. inurement). Here are the concerns I have based on my experience:
-In late 2016, OSF completely revamped their pay structure for podcasters so that, while Dr. Dehlin continues to draw a regular base salary as CEO–with further unknown financial benefit from co-hosting podcasts with members of his household, collecting speaking fees for retreats, and performance bonuses–podcasters are not salaried employees (rather, they are outside contractors provided no benefits and paid relative pennies per download, on the justification that OSF is based in Utah, a right-to-work state). This change also coincides with the first year that OSF has not been transparent about its finances and the substantially large retreats began.
-Moderators who donate hours upon hours per week of their own time to moderate official OSF groups and funnel/support members into his organization have been invited to OSF banquets, but only if they pay for their food.
-I have come to know many individuals who were never paid by Dr. Dehlin for professional services they did for him personally and OSF as an organization that they were promised. For my own time and travel to speak at a NYC OSF retreat, I was only comped for my flight—and only after sending 5+ reminder emails over 3 months.
-I was present when individuals who work for Dr. Dehlin have been brought to tears from how he treated them for privately (in a very small group) expressing concerns about his behavior. Our witnessing their treatment seemed to me a warning that we would be treated similarly if he perceived our loyalty to be lacking.
I have seen OSF’s work be a force for good in the lives of people I care about, like my dear husband. At the same time, especially in light of recent events (like John’s organizing of luxury retreats in the Bahamas and Australia) and his demand for loyalty and not answering for his behavior when approached privately, I regrettably must do this publicly. If Dr. Dehlin continues to criticize the church saying that it’s not financially transparent, a non-profit that acts like a for-profit, not helping those in need with excess funds that are instead put elsewhere (details unknown), etc., then it’s important that he hold his own non-profit institution to the same standard. When I was deliberating whether or not to stay with OSF last Nov. when issues between John and Kate Kelly unfolded, both John and the OSF board told me that we can’t let John’s reputation risk tarnishing, because if that happens, “the Church wins.” I don’t feel comfortable giving a pass and allowing an institutional culture like that within OSF leadership. Encouragement from the top to give problematic behavior from leaders “a break” sounds too familiar. My only goal is for this open letter to Dr. Dehlin to lead to positive change. I hope it will.
She addresses a basket of issues including:
1. John’s apparent inability to take correction and apparent abusive behavior toward those offering it,
2. obscure financial arrangements within OSF that seem to disproportionately benefit John financially,
3. many others performing a great deal of work with no financial or other benefits and arguably no respect,
4. nonpayment of promised funds for work performed,
5. John’s inappropriately demanding loyalty, particularly when confronted about bad behavior and a culture within OSF working to preserve his reputation in spite of “problematic behavior”
6. Concerns about the implications of recent changes in pay structuring, hiring his wife as a podcaster and new potentially high-dollar ventures such as cruises.
Difficulties taking private correction seems to be a theme worth developing. Efforts to “express my concerns privately to both John Dehlin and OSF [were] to no avail” and similar efforts by others resulted in their being “brought to tears from how he treated them for privately (in a very small group) expressing concerns about his behavior. Our witnessing their treatment seemed to me a warning that we would be treated similarly if he perceived our loyalty to be lacking.” It seems from this statement that the problem is at least serious enough to have a chilling effect upon those within the organization that might otherwise check bad behavior, a dangerous condition organizationally. Kate Kelly’s subsequent account confirms the existence of this dynamic. Regarding suspected financial abuses suggested in Money’s open letter, Kelly writes “This issue has been brought to Dehlin’s attention multiple times in private.” Public correction is also often rejected and demonization of the correcting party typically follows. According to Kelly [KK2], “When I tried to approach it publicly in the fall John publicly posted dozens of hateful comments about me on a running thread he kept editing to add more comments from others that maligned my character (he later was convinced by friends to take down bc it made him look absolutely unhinged). He immediately blocked me on Facebook & tried to villainize me after years & years of loyal friendship because he felt threatened by criticism not coming from “haters” but from friends. Because of that post & that post alone, John called me the “Robespierre of Mormonism.” After Kristy’s post yesterday, he has tried to villainize Kristy, too. That is his general modus operandi & a very transparent attempt to deflect her legitimate concerns.”
Note: Kelly’s complete response is given in the footnotes, but excerpted in the text due to its length. It is a worthwhile read, but would tend to disrupt the more thematic approach being taken here.
Accounts about John’s failure to accept reasonable correction and instead demand loyalty continue but take some interesting turns in the comments section responding to the original posts on Kelly’s and Money’s Facebook walls. I am not planning on including links at this point (or peoples names unless they are the principle actors) due to the number of people that haven’t made it really clear that they want to be famous, which I respect, but they are publicly accessible for those interested.
One respondent commented, “This situation has been exactly one year in the making. It is LONG overdue. I personally know of at least a dozen women that went to John privately to bring up problematic things that were said or done by him while he was acting as OSF ED towards women in the community. Some were simple (don’t comment on someone else’s body/breasts/dress PERIOD) some were painful (please don’t interrupt or dismiss or play ‘devils advocate’ to women’s sexual/physical abuse experiences) and some were full fledged profiting and taking advantage of women (please pay your women podcasters EQUALLY, as you have your male podcaster for years) — ALL OF THESE WOMEN went to John and close friends first. ALL OF THESE WOMEN hoped that John would learn and apologize and grow because everyone understands that coming from a patriarchal culture takes time to untangle… I personally sat with him and told him that it could be an easy fix if he’s willing to apologize and actually start treating women better by certain actions. He responded by asking for loyalty– it was completely inappropriate and I STILL gave him the benefit of the doubt and hoped he would LEARN.”
A former moderator at the Mormon Stories Podcast Community writes, ” I was just excommunicated from MSPC–fired as a moderator and blocked from the group–for my comments on Kristy’s post. It is every bit as bad as it seems.”
” I just feel bad. I’m sitting here bawling. I didn’t get to tell the group members how much I love and care about them before I left. They were the reason I stayed. Now, I’ve been thrown out like garbage.”
“Yup. I feel terrible about it. I didn’t even get to say goodbye to the group. I really love everyone in that group. I hope they will stay in touch.”
Kate Kelly remarks in [KK2], “In the past I was known for protecting John Dehlin. People told me about sexist (racist, homophobic) stuff he said or really problematic things he did to others & I shrugged & said, “that’s not my experience with him. He doesn’t do that to me.” I did that for a long time. One woman even came to me & told me she was a former employee of OSF & filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against John Dehlin with her state’s Human Rights Commission. I went to him directly & he convinced me she was “crazy” & her claim had no merit. I continued to support him.”
If I have correctly connected the dots, that woman whom Kelly references (who will be referred to by her message board handle, Rosebud) also posted some things about this experience. Her narrative touches on some of the same themes, but also goes to some darker places. One of the first issues that she addresses is his appropriation of other people’s work to his benefit.
One thing John does is make sure he owns the URL’s and the podcast content created. He uses content creators to make content he will own. At least that’s how he asked me to write up the contracts I created for him. He wanted, at the time, to own what everybody else created so he’d be able to put it on a radio station, Mormon Public Radio, he was dreaming of.
When objections are raised, he changes passwords, revokes rights to websites he owns (despite hard work the content creators have put in and not because there are clear contracts but because they’re on his hosting account) and then tells the creators everything they have done is his. “Bye. Mine. Start over if you don’t want to do things my way.”
———————————- … —————————————–
I, for example, called him feeling very upset because I couldn’t handle church anymore and my husband was a TBM with high-functioning autism (although I am had no idea what was wrong at the time) who had driven me into the state many people married to autism come to after so many years (I had already survived 15 years of it by then. I’m surprised I was half alive. Not an easy situation at all.) John took disastrous advantage of that situation and made plenty of money off my work before he got rid of me because I disagreed with how things should be handled, wanted real transparency and a functioning board, and because he said he “couldn’t handle having me around anymore because he cared about me so much???? (complete bs).
This theme of appropriating other people’s work to his financial benefit recurs in Kelly’s response, “Additionally, after years (a decade?) of complete non-involvement whatsoever in the organization, John’s wife Margi has been added on the payroll of OSF as a “co-host” of Mormon Stories. There are some pretty obvious conflicts of interest & nepotism questions raised by hiring your spouse at your non-profit with absolutely no attempt at an outside competitive hiring process. It is unclear if John’s wife Margi is also paid 2 cents per download for Mormon Stories because she is his cohost. Can you even imagine the CEO of the Red Cross (or any other legit non-profit) putting his wife on the payroll of the organization with no competitive hiring process?
That would be a huge scandal & would never fly.”
And also, “Her [Money’s] podcast Mormon Transitions (that shwas the initial podcaster of & worked for months to build) was taken over by John Dehlin’s wife [KK2].”
Although the theme of appropriating others’ work to his benefit and their loss continues, most troubling by far is Rosebud’s claims 1. that she and Dehlin were involved in an emotional affair, 2. that he spoke to her in favor of polygamy while publicly opposing it and 3. that he discussed having her as a plural wife.
At one time he even tried to convince me Snuffer was a well put together man, along with trying to convince me polygamy was a good idea. Seriously. My thought was, “Who does this stiff work on, I’m not dumb and you know what I think about these subjects. I’m a science girl, not a faith girl.” But obviously some of his manipulations were working on me. I now see the vulnerabilities in my past self that he saw in me at the time and took advantage of, but in the moment I didn’t know what was wrong with me and was just desperate and downtrodden and, well, much more capable than he had anticipated. He never expected me to actually succeed despite what he put me through and that, I think, was part of his downfall in my case. I was both vulnerable and not. Both at the same time. My vulnerability came from my environment but I had a level of resiliency, that also came from my difficult environment, he didn’t predict.
When it all played out, I lost my job and the money that and went with it while he played righteous victim and people supported him because he falsely presents himself as a nice guy with a few weaknesses. I’m still coping with financial hardship directly related to what John did to me almost 5 years ago, fwiw….. but that is a very long story. Domino effect. Regardless, this stuff is real and dangerous. (My poor little family…. sigh… but we’re doing better all the time.)
And there was when I left, of course, a long fight over websites, brand names and passwords, all of the stuff John claimed he owned outright because he was the public figure and therefore the nonprofit couldn’t function without him. I had no contracts. I came as a volunteer who trusted him and became more valuable to the organization than he was comfortable with me being. I am had been a stay at home mom before then. I knew very little outside of primary, relief society and coping with my husband. John exploited all of that legally.
Can you elaborate more on this? John hates polygamy just like most exmos.
Yes. He brought up the topics of polyamory and polygamy very carefully, tried to make them sound good and then implied he’d like me to become his polygamous wife. He wanted to convince his wife of the same. Pretty standard polygamy recruitment stuff. I shut him down quickly.
If you were to ask him about it today, he’d probably make the excuse that it was a “dark” time and there was a devil sitting on one of his shoulders or something like that. I don’t know. It’s common stuff Mormon and exMormon women have to deal with often. We’re sealed eternally with the idea that our husbands will have plural wives after death. A lot of Mormon men want to make that happen during this life when they hit their midlife crises. The difference with John is that he’s out playing public anti-polygamy and good husband hero.
Hopefully, for M’s sake he’s more stable now (although I have a hard time believing that). I don’t know but I feel bad for her that he’s pulled her into the public light… especially if he isn’t or especially if he’s had more recent trouble and pulling out the “healthy marriage” card manipulation serves him. Hopefully a public face is what she really wants for herself and isn’t something he’s manipulating her into. He’d be a very difficult husband. Bad choice on her part. But hey, I was deceived by him and I married high-functioning autism in the temple when I was a little girl so I can’t really talk. I’m glad I’m more discriminating today.
This next one develops some more the theme of appropriating others’ work for personal gain and explains how structural features of the OSF may enable this behavior, while also outlining some of the fallout from her involvement with Dehlin.
Historians looking for more information can dig into the Comission for Human Rights in the State of New Hampshire. All files are private so making a request now will get nothing. That was the best way I knew to handle the situation. John held the power cards because I had no claim without a contract or at least six non-contract (or more highly/fairly) paid employees at the OSF.
He gets his work for pennies and then uses the fact that he only pays pennies to protect himself from consequences. I was never fairly compensated for my work or for the harm that came to me afterwards through his retaliations.
Then, my ex used JD as leverage against me and my children during my divorce (autism) while he went to his bishop for “help”… all at the same time JD was manipulating the public pretending he didn’t want his excommunication (that he had actually been preparing himself for for a long time… so he could be a hero like the September Six… remember how he kept talking to the press about them?) and I had a route of communication over the top of local leaders’ heads.
I told KK a little of what was going on… just a little, but I could tell she wasn’t to be trusted and didn’t care anyway. At the time she was only riding the JD publicity train so I kept my mouth shut. No sense in talking to someone who will only use your words against you. She knew what she wanted to hear in 2014/2015: that JD was a good man who has flaws like all of us, a man man deserving of pity and a wide space of acceptance because who among us has been perfect during our own crises? And JD, he had an “answer” for everything devised to keep him in line for his honorable public excommunication. He takes advantage of the “I was a good person going through a crisis, please forgive me,” explanation. People who don’t know him well and fall for that because they don’t comprehend the full scope of his manipulations or because their careers or social lives are dependent on him.
And be careful, if you cross him and your careers or social life are in his hands, like mine were (as he had intended), he’ll rip them away from you and leave you in the gutter. People have good reason to be afraid and to continue to treat him well even when he doesn’t deserve it. Some with less self-awareness than others may protect him without being aware of the fact that they protect him because he’s powerful and protecting someone who has power over you protects the self. Those who are discarded must find their own way.
——————Complete post about emotional affair [RB5]——————-
Fifth Columnist wrote:
Hey Rosebud, rumor has it that JD had an affair with you and that the reason JD met with his SP for so long was to repent of it. Any truth to that?
Good thing I checked back. No more questions after this, please. It’s not that I don’t want to answer, it’s that I do want to remove drama from my life because I have other things to focus on right now. My objective is to protect future victims and fight silence of women in the exMo community. This stuff is rampant. JD’s involvement in it is the OSF board’s problem, now. Not mine.
Yes and no.
Legally speaking, we did not have an affair because, legally, an affair must include sexual intercourse. We were not as chaste as 13-yos at their first junior high school dance.
We did have what I would call an “emotional affair” that I now understand was very predatory. At the time I did not yet comprehend the ways JD was manipulating me or intentionally using my vulnerabilities against me. At the time I knew I was in danger because of his temper, public position and the many public lies he told, but I did not have a full comprehension of the level of revenge, irrationality and anger to which he could rise. (You can find a small taste of it archived on this board in the thread in which he calls me “histrionic.”)
At the time, I believed many of the lies he told me because, at least to some extent, I still believed in parts of public presentation he all puts forward for you. I did not believe as many of his lies as those who weren’t listening to his strategizing behind the curtain, but I still hadn’t completely cottoned on. His manipulations are both sophisticated and obvious. Once you see them, they’re hard to un-see, but before one is aware of them, one wants to believe in him. He has an air or charisma that offers hope of something better and he intentionally uses that to his benefit in order to gain followers.
At the time I was not safe because I understood, to some extent (although not a full extent), what kind of person JD is and was, and what he might do to me because of his guilt. This lack of safety influenced some of my decisions — especially at times he was treating me the most poorly. It affected my ability to escape the situation. In the end, there was no safe escape for me or for the people who had trusted JD to represent their needs to the church. He saved his own neck no matter how many other people he hurt. I honestly think he would have preferred me dead. This is not an exaggeration. I do not now, looking back, believe I had full power to consent to all that occurred. I was in great danger. That does not also mean that he is as guilty as he could be. Consent is not always a black and white thing.
I felt a lot of guilt at the time. I believed it was a terrible affair. I was wrong, both legally and in my perception of what happened. I no longer feel guilty or believe bad things about myself or what occurred between us. I now have compassion for the vulnerable me who was greatly taken advantage of. More than anything, getting away from my ex-husband and experiencing real sex for the first time helped. That happened when I was 40 and definitely changed my perspective on what had occurred between JD and myself.
JD has his own sexual problems that are not my business to discuss here. Now that I understand sex and relationships I am more aware of JD’s problems than I was before.
Legally speaking, there was a major power difference between myself and JD: media access, followers, money, influence, passwords, board access, “public figure” status, etc.
Legally speaking, I lost my job. JD didn’t. There are lots of ways people might try to parse that, but I’ll let it go for now. I put up a fight for the OSF and CTW and managed to save a few things before I exited.
Legally speaking, small businesses can get away with a lot because the government protects them. They get away with more in Utah than New Hampshire. Have an attorney sort it out for you, but it is directly related to Money’s concerns about number of employees and how much they get paid. Fewer and more poorly paid employees = more legal leverage for JD… and he uses/used it. I’m leaving the docs where they are because what is important to me is not drama, but protecting other women in crisis who come to the OSF with good intentions. I’m concerned about other vulnerable women who step into the transitioning Mormon communities hoping to “help” people. That was me when JD started this. He was the instigator. Repetitively. It was not me.
As for the SP, the answer is no. JD was talking to his SP on a weekly basis for a long time before any of the “drama,” as I would put it, began. JD did so because the SP asked him to because of JD’s influence over the MS communities and because JD wanted to catch the SP on the record saying things that would incriminate the church. It was part of his plan all along. Keep in mind, too, that JD is a wishy washy guy: in one place one day and another the next. It’s not helpful to confuse wishy-washy with well-meaning and innocent.
Does he have some moments that are more positive than others? Definitely. Do those more positive moments erase the reality of his strategic maneuvering? Definitely not.
JD is dishonest about details in the “faith reconstruction” podcast because he was creating a narrative to promote his false repentance (should he be called to the carpet by myself or someone in my family in the future) and to help prepare him for his honorable excommunication, finally achieved two years later.
all right. Not my drama anymore please.
I have decided to say one more thing and then will do my best to exit this drama and not read responses here. I do ask that if JD or the OSF responds with its “statement” that someone let me know. I may be ignoring only because I’m trying to shut this out of my life.
(And if anyone on the OSF board reads this, please consider Money’s number and payment of employees issue and how that increased JD’s power over me dramatically.)
This is hard to write, but it needs to be said. Like a lot of women, I have been violently raped more than one time. What JD did to me with his emotional manipulations, and, well, I’m not going to get into everything he did or the whole drama he’s created of his life that I unfortunately am now part of, was far worse than the rapes.
I know there will be those who will argue and defend, say that I am wrong to have experienced my life the way I have, that my response to JD is hardly JD’s “fault,” or whatnot, but if I could have exchanged this experience for a few more violent rapes, I would gladly have done so. There is great harm in emotional, sexual and power manipulation coupled with Internet intimidation, public exposure, and the power games he’s playing with the church.
He is a very dangerous man.
A variety of women have related their experiences with John Dehlin. A number of them have noted that they believe in what his organization claims to be about, but found that the lived reality in that organization contradicted its avowed ideals. Multiple women have noted inequitable pay and use of power within the OSF. A number of women have tried to help John Dehlin overcome serious personal or organizational flaws only to be confronted with demands for loyalty. When private correction is exhausted and they speak out publicly, they frequently find themselves maligned, shunned and persecuted. At least one reports that Dehlin engaged in an inappropriate relationship with her and used his power to severely damage her interests and well-being. The work women do is deserving of the same respect and the same remuneration for the same work.
In the response from the OSF board regarding finances, Natasha Helfer Parker said, “Most of the work people have done has been on a volunteer basis. And as a podcaster myself, I signed on full well knowing that it was going to help me more from a marketing opportunity than being paid per hour spent (that was never part of what I negotiated). Which has been the case.” A 2015 tax document lists her as the president, in which capacity she made 1/15.5 of what John made and almost exactly 1/6 of what Dan made. I have no doubt that it did help her in marketing. However, if there’s one person that is being compensated in terms of fame, brand promotion and free advertising for their work at OSF, that person is probably John Dehlin; and they pay him. Perhaps she should expect more.
Natasha Parker (President, woman) $5877
John Dehlin (Vice President, man) $91308
Dan Wotherspoon (Director, man) $35344
—————Kate Kelly May 21, 2017 response [KK2]———————————
*** I will post the possible action items up front & explain the reason I’m bringing them up below. Please read this entire post before you comment. ***
At the end of the day, I’m an activist & I know that institutions never change unless there are real consequences. As such, in addition to having a public discussion about the problematic role of Mormon Stories in the post-Mormon community, I think only specific action will produce change.
Keep in mind that the following are my own brainstorming, not Kristy Money’s or anyone else’s.
Potential action items:
• BOYCOTT MORMON STORIES: This is pretty straightforward. If you subscribe to any of the podcasts under the Open Stories Foundation (OSF) umbrella, unsubscribe. Stop listening & attending any OSF-sponsored events. Where once the field of podcasters was very empty, it’s now a crowded market with plenty of wonderful, well-produced LDS-themed podcasts. Members of the community could easily support one of the many excellent podcasters in lieu of Mormon Stories. The idea that “the church wins” if OSF is held accountable is a logical fallacy for many reasons, but primarily because there are SO many quality podcasters out there that many talented people can already fill any potential void in this important source of support for many. Boycotting could also extend to being a guest on Mormon Stories. If you are a prominent Mormon, or post-Mormon, you could choose not to go on as an interview subject & seek to support a lesser-known podcast or format.
• DIVEST IN MORMON STORIES: If you contribute a reoccurring donation to OSF, you could stop your donation & redirect that support to another podcaster, perhaps a woman or person of color who is trying to get their podcast off the ground. If you don’t contribute, you could find out who the larger donors to the OSF foundation are & ask them to stop donating. Give them your reasons. I don’t know who all of the large donors are, but Jon Huntsman Jr.’s brother is one example.
• FILE AN IRS COMPLAINT: OSF is a registered non-profit 501(c)3 & therefore is subject to U.S. tax code restrictions because it pays no taxes as an organization & receives tax deductible donations. Things like personal inurement are violations of the law. Ordain Women has only existed since 2014 (as a legal entity) & has already been audited by the IRS. The audit was uneventful (obviously bc there was nothing amiss). A group could collaborate on a complaint to the IRS about OSF. If nothing improper is happening financially, the IRS investigation would conclude with no action. https://www.irs.gov/
• FILE A COMPLAINT WITH the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing, Psychology: These complaints may be filed anonymously. John Dehlin has a Ph.D. in clinical and counseling psychology from Utah State University, 2015, and takes on private practice clients for what he calls “faith crisis and religious transitions coaching.” However, he did not ever actually complete his requirements to become a licensed psychologist in Utah or elsewhere (hence the reason he calls it “life coaching” not counseling). Some may see the way he presents himself professionally as disingenuous because he is not licensed, but often appears to promote himself as such. http://www.johndehlin.com/privatepractice/
Many lay people are confused about what it means to have a degree & what proper licensing is. If folks have serious concerns about his professional status and how he wields it in the community, complaints can be filed online with the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing, Psychology anonymously. http://www.dopl.utah.gov/investigations/complaint.html
To reiterate, while I find it imperative for women to speak out openly about mistreatment, I do not believe online discussions alone will cause any positive change with this specific organization or individual. I have personally seen a consistent pattern of immediate & extreme attempts to sweep under the rug any criticism & not actual change. I think concrete action is needed, in addition to open discussion. I would be interested to hear others’ suggestions for action items in the comments section.
Open Stories Foundation is a non-profit organization run almost exclusively (in concrete decision-making terms) by one man: John Dehlin.
As I brought up a few months back, https://www.facebook.com/katekellye
…/posts/10157888984960226 I believe that Mormon Stories (Open Stories Foundation) compensates women unfairly and takes advantage of the free work that women are willing to do. I was in constant communication with Kristy Money when I posted that OP & thought she had been mistreated. She supported me posting it, but didn’t speak out directly herself because she feared severe retribution… which, sadly, happened anyway. As a result of talking about her compensation to others (even privately), Kristy’s relationship as a podcaster with Mormon Stories ended. Her podcast Mormon Transitions (that shwas the initial podcaster of & worked for months to build) was taken over by John Dehlin’s wife. Yesterday, Kristy was brave enough to speak out about financial abuses of OSF openly herself (post below). Many people immediately attacked her online & belittled her concerns as “drama” but, I believe her concerns are valid. I think we should start by believing women who come forward at great personal cost to report abuse or wrongdoing. So, I’d like to add my personal insight to what Kristy has already stated & make clear that I support Kristy Money 100%.
This issue has been brought to Dehlin’s attention multiple times in private. When I tried to approach it publicly in the fall John publicly posted dozens of hateful comments about me on a running thread he kept editing to add more comments from others that maligned my character (he later was convinced by friends to take down bc it made him look absolutely unhinged). He immediately blocked me on Facebook & tried to villainize me after years & years of loyal friendship because he felt threatened by criticism not coming from “haters” but from friends. Because of that post & that post alone, John called me the “Robespierre of Mormonism.” After Kristy’s post yesterday, he has tried to villainize Kristy, too. That is his general modus operandi & a very transparent attempt to deflect her legitimate concerns.
Since November, John Dehlin has never once since reached out to me, apologized or attempted to make things right.
At the time, we were all his friends.
He needs to understand that criticism ≠ enemy. As someone who is frequently (understatement) trolled, there is a pretty easy formula to decide is someone is a “hater” or is a supporter w a critique made in earnest.
If they have always been your friend, come to your events, support your cause, interact with you as colleagues or volunteers, often make non-negative comments on other social media posts you make (on a picture of your family or happy thing you share) & don’t ONLY show up to drag you when they perceive you’ve done something problematic… chances are, they are your friend & have something valuable to say.
I’ve learned that there is a difference between “haters” & people who are sincerely trying to tell the truth & make things better and, John needs to learn that lesson, too.
Clearly, everyone deserves to be compensated fairly for their work. That fact is not in dispute. That is the crux of the matter. There is absolutely nothing wrong with John Dehlin making a salary as a podcaster. I sincerely hope he does very well. However, as a 501(c)3, full compensation details (not just base salary) should be made transparent. As with the Mormon Church, community members deserve to know the full details of where their money goes.
OSF came out with a (reactionary & defensive) statement about their finances yesterday. http://www.openstoriesfoundation.org/open-stories-foundati
…/ The post states that John Dehlin makes an $82.5K base salary, however that does not clarify whether he is additionally as a contracted podcaster @ 2 cents per download for the Mormon Stories podcast he hosts, (or whether that is included in the base salary), or what other compensation he is given, including speaking fees for Mormon Stories retreats or any end-of-year bonuses, etc. I know for an absolute fact that $82.5K is not the total amount he receives from OSF.
Additionally, after years (a decade?) of complete non-involvement whatsoever in the organization, John’s wife Margi has been added on the payroll of OSF as a “co-host” of Mormon Stories. There are some pretty obvious conflicts of interest & nepotism questions raised by hiring your spouse at your non-profit with absolutely no attempt at an outside competitive hiring process. It is unclear if John’s wife Margi is also paid 2 cents per download for Mormon Stories because she is his cohost. Can you even imagine the CEO of the Red Cross (or any other legit non-profit) putting his wife on the payroll of the organization with no competitive hiring process?
That would be a huge scandal & would never fly.
This could be a symptom of Founder’s syndrome, which is common in organizations founded by a single, charismatic individual: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Founder%27s_syndrome
OSF also has a very small Board of Directors that includes John Dehlin’s childhood best friend. Putting your wife on staff & your BFF on the board doesn’t bode well for transparency.
In the OSF statement released yesterday, several female employees are trotted out to support the organization. Amy Shoemaker Grubbs, Gina Colvin & Natasha Helfer Parker. Trotting out women to defend against allegations of gender discrimination is EXACTLY what the Mormon Church does. It is a transparent attempt to deflect (as opposed to address) legitimate concerns. Also, it’s just gross. Don’t use women as your human shield. Particularly women who have a financial tie to the organization’s continue success.
I also know for a fact that those who currently podcast were forced in November 2016 (after my original post), to sign new contracts in order to continue. I have seen the contract. These contracts are full of NDAs (non disclosure agreements), stipulate that all IP is property of OSF/ not the content creator, and that they can be terminated at any time for no reason. This puts these women in an almost impossible situation & contractually unable to discuss the true issues. #convenient
I think that it is important to not be neutral when shady things are happening in your own back yard.
In the past I was known for protecting John Dehlin. People told me about sexist (racist, homophobic) stuff he said or really problematic things he did to others & I shrugged & said, “that’s not my experience with him. He doesn’t do that to me.” I did that for a long time. One woman even came to me & told me she was a former employee of OSF & filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against John Dehlin with her state’s Human Rights Commission. I went to him directly & he convinced me she was “crazy” & her claim had no merit. I continued to support him.
I regret it.
In our culture, our brains are already wired by our total socialization under patriarchy to reflexively doubt women’s claims & require supporting evidence for them beyond what we require for men’s claims. Both men & women tend to be more skeptical of women’s accounts than they are of men’s, while firmly believing in their own (non existent) impartiality. And that’s especially true when a woman with little institutional authority speaks up about a man with far superior institutional authority. I want to encourage all whose first inclination might be jumping to Dehlin’s defense or saying things akin to “maybe it’s just a misunderstanding” to LISTEN to the words of Kristy & start off by BELIEVING her version of events. LISTEN to what I am saying & believe me.
You have to actively take steps to overcome implicit bias, like
🏼of starting by believing women who claim they were mistreated. It’s not our cultural tendency to believe women & we often tend to immediately assume they are “hysterical” “emotional” or “exaggerating.”
Try the opposite!
Take the following position: A woman is making a claim of abuse/ discrimination. I’m going to assume in good faith that she’s telling the truth & find out more.
Don’t throw women under the bus because you enjoy the media product of a man & you trust him. Just don’t. Speak up. Take action.